Looking Through A Door of Hope, by Angus Wootten

via Looking Through A Door of Hope – B’ney Yosef North America

[Editor’s note: The default mode in our perceptions of the world tends to be focusing on the small part of a subject that we understand well – or think we understand. Whether it is politics, economics, parenting, theology, or any other realm of human endeavor, people seem to prefer remaining in their comfort zone of what is familiar, thus leaving the bigger picture out of their calculations. This is why men and women of vision are so remarkable, and often misunderstood. They see the big picture, and they try to make sense of all the different, seemingly contradictory, parts of that picture.

Angus Wootten was such a visionary. Having caught a glimpse of the big picture of God’s plans in restoring the kingdom to Israel, and what that means for redemption of the whole world, he strove for much of his life to explain this in terms everyone could understand. Having spent some time in Africa with the US Army, he developed a fascination with elephants, so it’s not surprising that a familiar elephant story provided the background for his explanation of the prophesied Latter Days, or End Times. Angus wove that story into the last piece he ever wrote for publication: the Foreword to his wife, Batya’s, book, A Door of Hope for the Last Days. Although the book is not currently in print, we share Angus’ Foreword in tribute to a brother who labored all his life to help God’s covenant people achieve ever greater unity while celebrating their diversity.]


Looking Through a Door of Hope

By Foreword to A Door of Hope for the Last Days

By Angus Wootten – September 2014

We would all like to know what the scenario will be for the ending of this earthly drama that started some six thousand years ago in the Garden of Eden and will end in the New Jerusalem sometime in the future.

Our Creator says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:10, NIV).

Even though the Almighty makes known the end from the beginning, and Genesis means Beginnings, most Believers turn to the latter parts of Scripture, to the books of Daniel and Revelation for answers to their end time questions. Scripture indicates that we should begin our search in Genesis.

In addition, we are told that Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) “must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets” (Acts 3:20-21, NIV).

Our focus has long been on when the restoration will happen rather than on who is being restored and what are they being restored to. Perhaps it is time to shift our focus.

As we seek to understand the end times, we suggest thinking in terms of a puzzle. The first step in putting a puzzle together is to gather all of the pieces. And, an accurate scenario must include all of Israel’s as yet unfulfilled promises. YHVH said: “I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel” (Ezekiel 39:25). YHVH wants to restore all twelve of Israel’s tribes.

Whether we are trying to put the puzzle together ourselves or reviewing another’s handiwork, to be a completed puzzle it must include all of the pieces. For this reason, we submit that most Christian end time theories are sorely lacking—because they tend to leave Israel’s full restoration out of the picture, and because they separate themselves from the salient truth that they, too, are part of Israel’s commonwealth (Ephesians 2:11-22).

Problems in discerning the end times are well illustrated by John Godfrey Saxe’s (1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend, “The Blind Men and the Elephant.”

It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -“Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ‘tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” -quoth he- “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” -quoth he,-
“Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said- “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” -quoth he,- “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean;
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

There are many opinions as to how the end times will play out. Like the proverbial elephant story, we suggest that most theories fail to take into account certain heretofore unseen truths about “both the houses of Israel” (Isaiah 8:14).

In A Door of Hope for the Last Days, my wife, Batya, offers some unique insights that help us to better see the big picture and to prepare our hearts for things that potentially lie ahead. [1] She makes no claims to have figured it all out, and feels that the only One Who has a complete picture of the end times scenario is its Author, YHVH—the One who wrote the script and the end of the play before the foundation of the world.

Batya is instead most interested in heart attitudes and in encouraging Believers in the faith. In this book, she offers some wise counsel that will help build our faith, enlarge our understanding of our call in Messiah, and help prepare us for the exciting days that lie ahead.

One major problem we often encounter in a search for end times truth is that most Christian books on the subject perpetuate the belief that it is the Jewish people alone who will go through the tribulation described in Matthew, chapter 24. They fail to realize that YHVH is still dealing with “the whole elephant,” He is still dealing with the whole house of Israel. Therefore, to understand the end, we must take into account the beginning promises the Almighty made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in regard to both their fruitfulness and the Promised Land.

Suggested scenarios, if they are to be seriously considered, must include YHVH’s promises to Judah’s brother, Joseph, as well as the regathering of scattered Israel as outlined in Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and throughout all of Scripture. Solutions must include the promises made to Joseph’s son, Ephraim, whose heirs were destined to become a “melo hagoyim,” a “fullness of the Gentiles” (Genesis 48:19; Romans 11:25).

The prophets declare that those of Ephraim, those who were once deemed to be mighty warriors in Israel, are destined to once again be like a “mighty man” (Hosea 13:1; Zechariah 10:7). While it was decreed that Ephraim would never again be a separate kingdom of people, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, our Father longs for wayward Ephraim—and He has sworn that He will yet restore him (Isaiah 7:8; Jeremiah 31:15-28). It is prophesied that, when YHVH whistles for Ephraim, his heirs will return from the west and join with their brethren of Judah, and together, then, as a fully reunited house, they will defeat the Philistines who attack them (Isaiah 11:11-14; Hosea 11:9-11; Zechariah 10:8-10).

Any attempt to define the end times, of necessity must include the restoration of Israel’s Kingdom. Any end time scenario worth its salt must include this and much more.[2]

We say this, and yet acknowledge that this book, like all of its predecessors, likewise will fail to properly define the whole elephant. Nonetheless, we submit its points as being essential to any hopes of grasping the subject matter. Rather than a detailed study of rapture theories, this book is about the idea of including the whole house of Israel in any proposed scenarios. We offer our points as a suggested puzzle outline, an essential framework that will help us as we seek to collectively assemble the many puzzle pieces.

Most end time books focus on an event known as the “Rapture,” or the catching away of all, or some Believers (some believe that there will be multiple Raptures). Various scenarios have this event taking place before an assumed seven-year tribulation, before its mid-way point, before the end-time wrath associated with it, or immediately following it. (Some feel there is no such seven-year period.)

Since many believe in a seven year Tribulation, Batya makes suggestions concerning the true meaning of wrath. She addresses the fact that most Rapture books lead Believers to focus on escape from this world and thus encourage fear and inactivity. They imply that Believers should essentially sit on the street corner and wait for a Rapture Bus that will one day whisk them away. They do not focus on the restoration of Israel’s Kingdom here on Earth —nor on their important role in that restoration.

We want to instead point Believers toward the ultimate victory that is promised to the whole house of Israel—because, without taking into account the full restoration and return of all twelve tribes of Israel, one simply cannot expect to understand what is yet to come. Therefore, in hopes of helping to establish a framework in which we might collectively work together, we do hereby submit with this book, our suggested “Outline of the Elephant.”

Angus Wootten
Author; Lt. Col., Retired
Saint Cloud, FL

[1] A Door of Hope for the Last Days, originally published in 2014, is currently out of print. This is one of several works, both old and new, that Key of David Publishing hopes to make available in the future. Look for news on how you can help with these projects!

[2] For example, see Isa 5:26; 11:14; Jer 23:1-8; Eze 37:25; 48:1-36; Hos 11:10; Zec 10:7-8; Acts 15:16-17.

Reverse Replacement Theology?

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these thing shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these thing shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)

One of those songs I recall singing in church as a youth begins like this:

Seek ye first the kingdom of God

And His righteousness;

And all these things shall be added unto you,

Hallelu, Hallelujah!

(“Seek ye first”, by Karen Lafferty, 1971)

It is a good song taken directly from Scripture.  This particular chorus is from Matthew 6:33, as rendered in the King James:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these thing shall be added unto you.  (Matthew 6:33 KJV)

Like so many things in my Christian upbringing, I do not recall a succinct explanation of this instruction by Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ).  Perhaps it was assumed that we would absorb the meaning in our Sunday School classes or in our own study of the Bible.  Even the Biblical instruction I received in my Christian school never included a full disclosure of what the Kingdom of God is, or a definition of righteousness.  This is not to say that my Christian upbringing was without value; I owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to the teachers, pastors, and counselors who labored lovingly to help me become a disciple of Jesus and to impart their love of the Word of God and the God of the Word.  However, there were some holes in my education, particularly regarding the specifics of certain key terms in my Christian vocabulary.

Righteousness was one of those terms.  Simply put, it is being right according to YHVH’s standards.  Moses provides the details in the Torah.  The rest of the Bible elaborates on that foundation, providing examples of how God’s people succeeded or failed in meeting those standards.  When we get to the Apostolic Writings (New Testament), we see those standards demonstrated by the example of Yeshua, and then we find commentary by the Apostles.  Consequently, even though I cannot recall anyone giving me a definition of righteousness when I was young, it was easy enough to figure out what Yeshua meant when He commanded us to seek it.

But then there is that problematic term, “Kingdom of God”.  What exactly is that?  The Bible tells me about the Kingdom of Israel and about the Kingdom of Heaven, but in my church upbringing it seldom occurred to me that the two might be the same.  And in fact they are the same.  Much Christian teaching has attempted to separate the two, but doing so leaves the Kingdom of God as nothing more than a nebulous, over-spiritualized concept.  The Kingdom of Israel, on the other hand, is a concrete, definable, knowable entity, and all the people of God are part of it.  It matters not whether they are Jewish or of Gentile background.  The terms of the New (or Renewed) Covenant tell us that YHVH has executed this agreement only with the people of Israel and Judah (see Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:8-11).  Isaiah 56:4-8 explains that foreigners will join themselves to the Lord and come into His Temple, the house of prayer for all nations.  Paul tells us how this will happen, explaining in Romans 11 how non-Jews are “grafted into” the olive tree of Israel along with Jews, and in Ephesians 2 how faith in Messiah Yeshua makes these former Gentiles part of the Commonwealth of Israel.  As if there were any doubt, John records the proclamation of the angel at the end of this age that the kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15).  With that kind of Scriptural foundation, no wonder the ancient carol proclaims, “Born is the King of Israel!”

Please click here to continue reading

Comment on Peter Vest’s Review of Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell

BFB150428 Orthodox Messianic Judaism - Mt SinaiRecently Peter Vest, author of Orthodox Messianic Judaism, reviewed my book, Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell.  His is the first critical review of which I am aware.  Critical, that is, but not scathing.  His perspective provides ample opportunity for discussion and refinement of our understanding, and much room for agreement.  Peter invited me to comment on his review, and I am glad to accept the invitation in hope of advancing a very useful dialogue.  Here is his review.  My comments follow.


My Review and Response to McCarn’s “Give Me a Place Where I May Dwell”

Posted on Orthodox Messianic Judaism, April 19, 2015

by Peter Vest

I just finished reading a book that is attempting to do for the Ephraimite Movement what Theodor Herzl’s book “Der Judenstaat” did for Zionism.  Some of what it says is good…other portions are very troubling indeed.

First, here’s the author, Albert McCarn:

110811 AJM DA Photo

As you can see, he is a well-decorated ex-military officer.  And we can all be very thankful for his many years of service to our country.

Here’s the book which, you will note, displays a proposed national flag for the Ephraimite Nation:

Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell is a meticulously researched book that makes a compelling biblical and contemporary case for building a global consciousness among Hebrew Roots believers—and eventually finding a homeland for these Ephraimites in Israel.

So let’s get into it.

Every book is about a problem and a proposed solution.  This book frames the problem something like this:

You very well could be a descendant of the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel which means that you’re living in exile from your homeland (the tribal territories of the Northern Tribes of Israel), deprived of a sense of national community with your people–the Ephraimites, suffering from the onslaught of increasingly hostile, anti-Biblical culture in your host country or even outright oppression.

But there is hope for you to rejoin your lost community and reclaim your birthright to the Northern Tribal Territory of Israel:

You can help restore national consciousness to Ephraim by (1) envisioning the kinship you share with other Ephraimites all over the world and (2) joining many others in a mass exodus from all of their various host countries as they embark on an epic quest to reclaim the “land of the fathers.”

Please click here to continue reading

A Place at the Table

John the Baptist said that God is able to raise up children of Abraham from the very stones.  Messiah Yeshua made that possible, opening the way for all people to become part of the Seed of Abraham and  Commonwealth of Israel, regardless of physical descent.  (The Sermon of St John the Baptist, by Pieter  Brueghel the Elder)
John the Baptist said that God is able to raise up children of Abraham from the very stones. Messiah Yeshua made that possible, opening the way for all people to become part of the Seed of Abraham and Commonwealth of Israel, regardless of physical descent. (The Sermon of St John the Baptist, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder)

Last week a reader asked a very important question.  It is so important that I want to share it:

A friend introduced me to your blog.  I am a follower of Yeshua, not one of the twelve “lost” tribes but I am Torah pursuant.  I am learning to be part of Abba’s tribe.  In your writing I only hear you speak of Judah and Ephraimites (lost tribes) as being Israel.  Do you see Torah pursuant followers of Yeshua who have no provable family lineage and are from “the nations” as part of the Israel family?  Do they have a place at the table?

This question gets to the very heart of who we are.  It addresses the very thing that the Apostles and the wider Jewish community wrestled with in the First Century.  Specifically, what is the status of these people coming to faith in Yeshua from among the Gentiles?  Are they still Gentiles, or are they Israelites?  And if they are Israelites, are they also to become Jews?  And if they are not Jews, what kind of Israelites are they?

Many writers and teachers have addressed this question, and it is in fact the central question addressed in my recent book, Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell.  There is still much more to be said as we watch and participate in the unfolding of YHVH’s revelation on the subject.  As a contribution to that dialogue, here is my response:

One of the biggest things Abba is doing right now is restoring to His people the awareness of their identity.  Are you a believer in Yeshua, Son of God and Messiah?  Do you obey His commands and follow Him as His disciple?  Then you are indeed an Israelite regardless of your ethnicity or nationality.  The Apostle Paul made that clear in his letters, particularly in Ephesians 2 and Romans 9,10, and 11.  When he writes about us of the nations being grafted into the olive tree of Israel, and of being part of the commonwealth of Israel, that’s what he means.  The Jewish part of our nation (the House of Judah) have always retained their identity as Israelites and have kept the nation alive.  That is the Father’s plan, and that is why we non-Jewish Israelites do not replace the Jews, but join with them in the nation as Abba rebuilds it.  That is the meaning behind the prophecies of the Dry Bones and Two Sticks of Ezekiel 37, and of the entire book of Hosea, and of Isaiah 11, and of many, many other prophecies.

When it comes to your physical heritage, it should be a great comfort to know that lineage is no obstacle to God (Matthew 3:7-10).  Israel is His Kingdom and His vehicle of salvation for all the nations, so He has always invited people to join that nation from the time He made His first call to our father Abraham.  Today He has revealed the means by which He can accept anyone into the nation, and by which He can accept the nation itself back into fellowship with Him.  That, of course, is what Yeshua accomplished with His atoning sacrifice on our behalf, and that is why He is our King.  The truth is, neither I nor anyone else can prove with beyond any doubt that we are descendants of any of the Tribes.  Even our brethren of Judah are hard pressed to chart their lineage considering the things that have happened to the Jews over the centuries.  We have the choice of looking at all of that as tragedy and as cause for division, or of looking on it as another astonishing revelation of our God’s glory.  He is reconstructing His nation from broken pieces, gathering up the fragments just as Yeshua’s disciples gathered the fragments discarded by those who ate His bread and fish.  In time this polyglot nation of many peoples will become the nation of one people, Israel, just as our King has promised.  In fact, the nations of this earth will be absorbed into Yeshua’s Kingdom of Israel just as the prophets Daniel and John declared (Daniel 2:44-45; Revelation 11:15-18).

In time we will all be numbered among the Tribes.  As others have said, when we enter the New Jerusalem, we will be going through the gates named for each of the Tribes because there is no gate named for the nations.  All we know for now is that Yeshua’s Kingdom of Israel consists of two parts:  the houses of Judah and Ephraim.  If you are not Jewish, but you are a believer in Yeshua, then you are of Ephraim.  Tribal identification is of secondary importance.  Based on the precedent set in Numbers 1 with the first census of Israel, and of the provisions for inheritance explained in Ezekiel 47:21-23, I am inclined to believe that individual choice has a big role in tribal identity.  The first step, though, is identifying with Israel as an Israelite currently living among the nations.  If we can in all sincerity call Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob our fathers, then we are ready to move forward as God’s people.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2015.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Purpose of the Holy Spirit

A French farmer sows wheat in his field in the aftermath of World War I, bringing new life where there was death. This timeless action has instructed us for millennia of the work of God in bringing life to and through the kingdom of Israel which He sowed into the world. (Photo reproduced from Forward-March! The Photographic Record of America in the World War and the Post War Social Upheaval, Disabled American Veterans of the World War, Chicago, 1934)
A French farmer sows wheat in his field in the aftermath of World War I, bringing new life where there was death. This timeless action has instructed us for millennia about the work of God in bringing life to and through the kingdom of Israel which He sowed into the world. (Photo reproduced from Forward-March! The Photographic Record of America in the World War and the Post War Social Upheaval, Disabled American Veterans of the World War, Chicago, 1934)

Not that long ago, the men’s Bible study I am blessed to attend spent several months going through the Gospel of Mark.  One morning we looked in depth at the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-25).  Our leader astutely pointed out the words of Yeshua:  “Do you not understand this parable?  How will you understand all the parables?” (Mark 4:13 NASB)  His conclusion, with which I agree, is that this parable is the key to understanding all of Yeshua’s parables, and thus everything He taught.  Yet for all our analysis of this parable over the centuries, it seems that we may have missed something very important.  What we have been missing dawned on me as we discussed Mark 4 on that day, and as we parted company I asked, “What if this parable is about the restoration of the entire Kingdom of Israel?”

We were not able to investigate that question at that time, but I have pondered it ever since.  The applicability of the Parable of the Sower to the Lost Tribes of Israel comes into focus when we consider the prophecy of Hosea.  We learn in Hosea’s first chapter that he speaks to the House of Israel, the Northern Kingdom which became the Lost Tribes.  Because of their unfaithfulness to YHVH, He judged them by removing them from His Presence and scattering them into the nations.  Yet He promised to bring them back to the Land as His people once again, as He said through Hosea:

 “It will come about in that day that I will respond,” declares the LORD.  “I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth, and the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil, and they will respond to Jezreel [“God sows”].  I will sow her [Israel] for Myself in the land.  I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’  And they will say, ‘You are my God!’”  (Hosea 2:21-23 NASB, emphasis added)

Ephraim [Israel] is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, but I will come over her fair neck with a yoke; I will harness Ephraim, Judah will plow, Jacob will harrow for himself.  Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.  (Hosea 10:11-12 NASB)

There is much to investigate regarding this connection of the restoration of Israel with the Parable of the Sower.  My friend Ken Rank of United2Restore has made a good start by looking at the role of the Holy Spirit in this process.  His article is reproduced here from a recent post on Facebook.

Please click here to continue reading